Guy Fawkes Night Takes on New Meaning for Occupy Protesters

Fawkes' plastic masks have been worn by hundreds of protesters from the anti-capitalist Occupy Wall Street movement from New York to London.

LONDON - The 400-year-old story of Guy Fawkes' failure to blow up London's Parliament is traditionally marked in Britain with bonfires and mulled wine. But this year Guy Fawkes Night took on a distinctly political flavor, as protesters inspired by Fawkes marched on Parliament - though with different motivations than the 17th-century activist.

Fawkes is a household name in Britain for plotting with other conspirators to blow up Parliament in the botched "Gunpowder Plot" of 1605.

Occupy Wall Street, Rome - AP - October 2011
AP

The conspiracy fell apart, Fawkes was tried as a traitor, and the king's narrow escape has been celebrated every year since on November 5.

The story has recently been seized upon as a symbol against state power with the rise of two modern anti-government movements.

Guy Fawkes plastic masks have been worn by hundreds of protesters from the anti-capitalist Occupy Wall Street movement from New York to London.

Members of the international rogue collective of "hackivists" known as Anonymous also wore the masks during protests against the Church of Scientology.

Yesterday, a group of people wearing the masks tried to march into London's Parliament Square, but they were blocked by police.

Many of the activists are behind the Occupy London movement, which is protesting social inequality and the excesses of the banking industry.

Meanwhile, Anonymous seized on Guy Fawkes Night by backing an online campaign urging people to withdraw their money from large banks yesterday.